BRITISH COLUMBIA: Farm sale bill panned
Posted: November 29th, 2009 - 8:23pm
Source: Kamloops Daily News
A proposed private member’s bill from the NDP Opposition that would allow unregulated meat sales is an unwanted return to the past, two local farmers said Thursday.
The bill by Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons would allow small producers to slaughter and sell small amounts of meat products, bypassing regulations brought in two years ago.
“It’s for selling a chicken to your neighbour – you can’t do that now,” Simons said, adding such practices have gone on for generations in Canada.
That was before the province enacted laws that came into effect in 2007 that required livestock, whether one chicken or 10,000 cattle, to be killed and processed in a provincially or federally licensed facility.
Animals must be slaughtered under the watchful eye of Canadian Food Inspection Agency representatives.
But Simons said that requirement is too bureaucratic and not effective for small farmers selling meat products to neighbours or people in the local community.
“It goes against Canadian values,” Simons said of the Food Safety Act regulations.
“The current legislation is an infringement on the rights of small-hold farmers.”
But Holly Campbell, a former commissioner on the agricultural land reserve commission, said it could harm the local food industry to lower safety standards.
“The system works well for us,” said Campbell, who, together with husband Larry, operates Buse Creek Ranch. Their operation is increasingly moving toward local sales and beef is processed through small, provincially inspected plants in Darfield, Cherry Creek or Salmon Arm.
“In Kamloops we’re lucky. We have several facilities close by. Others aren’t as fortunate.”
Campbell said inspections have increased costs but she believes they help the image of the industry and increase consumer confidence.
“For any food product it helps to know where your food comes from. I don’t think we can go back to farm gate sales where money changes hands for a product that isn’t inspected.”
Karl Rainer, part of the family that operates a small slaughterhouse and cut and wrap facility in the North Thompson, said if the bill were passed or adopted by government “it would be a real step backward.
“Most of us have gone a long way to producing a safe product for the consumer.”